BASTROP, Texas -- Their jobs often start at car accidents, ending miles away at a fast moving fire. For all first responders, it's a part of life, perhaps seen best in Bastrop County.
"Personally it was like 10 days of hell," said Bastrop Fire Chief Henry Perry.
The flames of last year's Labor Day fires are never far from Perry's memory. In two weeks, it will be a year since they struck.
"It still bothers me to drive by and look at it," Perry said. "But as you look at it, people are building. That's the main thing, people are coming back."
Tuesday night was dedicated to those who never left. A night for the firefighters, officers, and paramedics in need of a much deserved break. And what better way than bowling.
"It's just amazing to see all of the people gathered here," said paramedic Jill Rosales. "It's kind of sharing the love and the competition all at the same time."
Rosales is just one of the hundreds at this year's Battle of the Badges. It's a Bastrop tradition that after the fires means a bit more.
"I think it will take time," said Bastrop County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Terry. "But I think it will get back to the way it was and even better someday."
For some, it's the first time to see each other since they worked to save their community a year ago. If you ask any of the first responders, they'll tell you it's a mission that never ends.
Just don't ask who'll win at bowling.
"It won't be my fireman," laughed Perry. "They're having fun though! That's the main thing. They're having fun."